There may be nothing that is as potent in leadership than a sense of humor, especially when you allow yourself to become the joke.
I’ve watched gifted leaders turn some of their greatest blunders into a time of learning for everyone. Here are some helpful hints that I’ve gleaned from these men and women.
- Taking yourself too seriously is deadly for a leader.
- Begin to examine your attitudes and actions with a critical eye which searches for what others may find humorous.
- Dispel anger by openly letting others know that you get the joke.
- Allow your co-workers and volunteers to become part of this humorous experience.
- Don’t ever laugh at the person who may criticize you. But actively laugh at yourself when criticism is leveled at you.
Each year, Special Gathering takes 200 or more people on a retreat. We are responsible for the safety and health of our members who are mentally challenged. Most of them have an additional, secondary physical disability. Tensions run high during the times we are transporting these people and setting up the retreat.
About five years ago, our executive director began to break down some of the tension by laughing at himself. Those of us in leadership positions took up his banner by finding humor in our mistakes and stern attitude. Our most valued volunteers and staff pushed the theme. It has changed the sternness of this tense time into a much more relaxed atmosphere for everyone.
Finding the things at which others can laugh enhances–rather than diminishes–your leadership skills. If you don’t have a sense of humor, get one.
Photo by LadyBugPhotography